Re: [stella] Hello again...

Subject: Re: [stella] Hello again...
From: Erik Eid <eeid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 18:11:33 -0500
On Wednesday 21 January 2004 12:27, B. Watson wrote:
> Hi, list.

Hi, Brian!

> It's been a while since I did anything with my 2600... been busy with
> that strange thing called `life'

That's understandable.  I think this happens to all of us at one time or 
another.  I shudder to admit that there were stretches that I barely played 
either of my Ataris (2600 or 7800), much less plotted a new game!  Other 
things just took precedence.

> The game would be a port of `Super Pang' aka `Super Buster Bros.' to
> the 2600. I would be doing `panic mode' only

Excellent!  I do enjoy playing the occasional game of Buster Bros.; there's an 
arcade near me that has one.  (Pinball Pete's in Ann Arbor, MI, for those who 
are curious.)  I don't know what the "panic mode" is - perhaps it's in the 
Super game and not the original?  I assume it's just a case of keep going 
until you can't, rather than being level-based.

> Obviously, I can't have a zillion balls bouncing around, even with
> the smartest flicker algorithm I can think of, so I'm thinking of a
> few other enhancements to make the game harder & more interesting with
> fewer balls.  One idea I have is to have the `ceiling' of the level get
> lower as time passes... so if you don't pop X number of balloons by the
> time the ceiling reaches your head, you get squished.

That's a good idea, and it would make your game a little different than the 
original.  You could also have platforms - even though you didn't plan on it 
- solely to act as a lower ceiling in spots.  The ceiling need not be 
straight across.

Another idea would be to have each level have several waves of balloons.  They 
wouldn't have to all arrive at once.  Have you seen "Galaga Arrangement", 
which was part of the Namco Classics arcade series?  It's a modernized 
version of Galaga, done by Namco itself, and keeps the original gameplay 
while adding some interesting twists.  One of these twists is so have several 
waves of bugs arrive on some levels.  You have to hurry to get rid of one 
wave so that you can deal with the next when it comes!

> The arcade game has regular balloons that bounce in parabolic patterns,
> but it also has square balloons that ignore gravity and bounce around
> the level exactly like the ball in Pong or Breakout.

That's another good idea.  It would keep the player on his toes having to deal 
with two different movement patterns.

> About sound: [...]  The shooting noise isn't necessary for gameplay (you
> don't need to hear a noise to know you just shot, because you just used your
> thumb to hit the button), but I guess I could put it in if people thought it
> was worth it.

I'd like to have it, even if it's just a quiet little "pfft".  Audio feedback 
would reinforce the fact that you did fire a shot, especially if you're not 
really watching the shot but are moving on to your next target.

> So I'm going to send Albert the final version of the ROM [of Poker Squares]
> (I suspect he already has it), and let the AtariAge folks design the
> label/box/whatever they're going to do.

Yay!  I've been eagerly awaiting the chance to get a cartridge version of the 
game.  I also didn't want Euchre to feel so lonely as the only card game 
homebrew.  :)

There are plenty of talented artists and designers out there; just look at the 
results of the various label contests.  I can personally recommend the work 
of David Exton, who designed the label for Euchre, and of Mike Mika, who laid 
out the printed manual.

- Erik

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